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The original Beethoven is moving enough, but it is to Soler's credit that his extended meditation on Beethoven's so recognisable intervals makes an original achievement of real stature. The Beethoven ideas are all-pervasive, but their implications are taken into a new world of carefully calculated sonorities that never lose sight of their mighty source. Soler's No 1 of more than twenty years earlier is very different. The ruminating start comes from the same mind as the 'Beethoven' movement [listen -- track 1, 0:00-1:00]. This music is inward and philosophical; but it alternates with much that is frenetic and of challenging virtuosity.

Roger has an equally mysterious beginning, but there is jagged passagework to follow [listen -- track 2, 0:00-0:52]. The sound effects are ever resourceful: persistent pizzicato pattering will precede outbursts that take the music by the scruff of the neck and shake it mercilessly; but the dying fall of the final bars, moving gradually towards an empty and eerie silence, is finely calculated.

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Copyright © 15 April 2001 Robert Anderson, London, UK






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